It’s an experience every man should have, and most of us probably will. There’s something different about flying into another city or even a different country when it’s done on business instead of vacation. Here’s what every man should bring along.
Kind of a cheater move since it’s not really going to be packed. For the sake of dignified air travel and keeping his suit in top form, it’s best to wear this on the plane. Unless the flight is completely packed, most attendants are willing to hang up the jacket while in the air, allowing for a more comfortable ride and fewer wrinkles in the suit.
The reason for navy is because it’s easier to pair the jacket with some of the other items in his bag. A lot of men will want to go explore the city they’re in when they’re not on the clock and a blue blazer works great day or night.
White Button-Up Shirt
Appropriate for both business meetings and going out at night, a white shirt is a blank canvas that could honestly be worn every day of the trip without anyone noticing (as long as it doesn’t smell too bad). Most men shy away from white because they consider it boring, but it’s my go-to color whenever I have to make a shirt last as many days as possible.
While white is the king of versatility, a blue oxford cloth button down comes in a very close second. The OCBD is great while meeting with clients but casual enough it can be worn with shorts or even a pair of swim trunks when headed to the beach or hotel pool.
Which of these a man chooses will depend on the formality and overall feel of his business. However, if at all possible, both are better than lace ups for the simple fact that they make airport security a whole lot easier. I even leave the top strap of my monks unbuckled when I’m in the airport to make it simple to simply slide them off and back on, allowing me to get out of the hell hole that is the TSA as quickly as possible.
Even I don’t want to wear a suit all the time. Chinos will dress up more than a pair of jeans but both can be made fairly work appropriate when paired with the navy jacket, a tie, and one of the button-up shirts. They can also both be worn casually when off the clock and around town.
While it’s obvious that these need to be included, it’s best to bring one pair more than the expected number of travel days. They take up minimal space, and one can never tell when he’ll have to throw on an extra pair or swap out one tie for another.
Should be fairly obvious how important one of these little guys is. I always try to remember to pack extra Q-tips and have found that the shampoo/conditioner/body wash bottles that are provided by most hotels are the perfect size to keep in my kit. They don’t take up too much space and fall within TSA regulations, meaning I can keep this in a carry-on bag rather than having to check it.
There are a ton of great companies who make some excellent dopp kits, but this cheap version from Target has been with me for seven years and thousands of miles.
There will always been some down time, and it’s crucial that it be taken advantage of. On my most recent trip to Guatemala, everything we did occurred in the same hotel. Being able to spend some time relaxing in the pool made it feel less confining and even a little bit like a vacation.
These trunks from Cabana e Fogo are the best pair I’ve ever owned. They’re aggressively short without coming close to banana hammock territory, all pockets zip closed, they have a convenient loop for sunglasses, and even come with a water proof bag in which they can be stuffed after a swim. That little bag made it easier to pack for the return trip home without having to worry about getting everything else in my bag wet or having to steel a garbage liner from the hotel.
While unnecessary on the plane or in the office, a great pair of shades will help keep travel throughout the remainder of the trip comfortable. Stick with something classic and stylish like these Wayfarers.
Even if a man sleeps in the buff, pajamas are a necessity. I’d hate to have to throw on jeans and a button-up shirt as I was evacuating a building because some kid pulled the fire alarm. They may never be used, but they take up little space and it’s better to have them than not.
Going international? There is something infinitely more deliberate and well-seasoned about using a passport cover. This beauty from Chester Mox doubles up as a wallet and fits perfectly into the inner breast pocket of a suit jacket – making it a stylish way to carry all of a man’s info and money without having to purchase a pick-pocket fanny pack. Simply keep the breast pocket buttoned shut when not in use.
This is another tip that’s especially helpful for international travelers. Many men will keep their phones turned off as a way to avoid international charges – leaving them reliant on some other method of telling the time.
What pair? Depends on the man, the job, and the location. For some it may be a pair of bucks, and for others it’s the loudest Nike’s available. The point is to have something extra that can give his feet and his dress shoes a break during off hours without confining him to his hotel room or the pool.
It takes up very little space in a weekend or carryon bag and can be used as both an intentional item or simply to help out in emergencies. My go-to for travel is a seasonal drivers cap. Something in linen for summer and a heavy wool in the winter.
Deck of Cards
I’m the kind of man whose brain always has to be doing multiple things. Most of the time this means browsing on my phone. However, there are times when a man needs to disconnect from the tech world, while still giving his hands something to do. Whenever I need to unwind but sitting still is driving me crazy, I’ll play a classic game of solitaire. It can be done in coffee shops, hotel rooms, and even airplanes.
Everything in here will fit into a standard-sized carryon bag and is great for business trips of four days or shorter. If going for longer, it’s time to check a bag and start to double up on the necessities like a suit, shirts, etc.